Yesterday, on 29 July 2014, the Supreme Court of the Bashkortostan Republic upheld the decision by the court of the first instance, which ruled that the External Guards Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for the Republic of Bashkortostan is to pay Aleksey Mukhametzakirov and Elena Roldugina (children of Albert Mukhametzakirov – a school teacher of Russian who was killed by a drunk policeman in 2010) 500 thousand rubles each in respect of moral damage. The decision has entered into force.
(Albert Mukhametzakirov, Vladislav Simukhin)
As we have previously reported, at the beginning of May 2010 Tatiana Ivanova from Ufa applied to INGO «Committee Against Torture» complaining that her husband Albert Mukhametzakirov had been killed, allegedly by police officer Vladislav Simukhin.
Human rights defenders in the course of their public investigation made the following findings. On 1 May 2010 Vladislav Simukhin was in a state of alcoholic inebriation. He received a service pistol and, instead of starting his shift, drank some more vodka and went to Ufa having taken the service pistol and his police uniform with him. There he continued «having fun» together with some acquaintances of his. The next day at about 1:40 pm the police officer, being considerably drunk, came over to a car with Albert Mukhametzakirov behind the wheel. The men agreed that Albert would take the policeman to Demskiy district of Ufa city.
In the car Mr. Simukhin paid for the ride and they started off. On their way an argument occurred between the driver and the passenger (alcohol must have done its part) which resulted in a tragedy – the law enforcement agent shot the teacher in the head, and fled the scene. Mr. Mukhametzakirov died from the wound.
On 7 May 2010 Vladislav Simukhin surrendered and gave a confession statement. On 14 May 2010 he was charged with this crime, and the case was referred to the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa city. Before court the policeman maintained that he had committed the crime by negligence, but the court took the victims’ side and held that Vladislav Simukhin is guilty of the crime under Article 105 (1) of Russian Criminal Code (intentional causing the death to another person) and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment to be served in a maximum security penal colony.
On 1 October 2012 the Leninskiy District Court of Ufa city delivered judgment awarding to Tatiana Ivanova compensation of moral damage in the amount of 800 thousand rubles. Nevertheless, on 14 March 2013 the High Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan delivered an unexpected appellate decision which dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for compensation. The bench of High Court judges must have wished to save money for the State, and concluded that the State bears no responsibility for murder committed by a law enforcement officer armed with a service pistol.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture who represented Ms Ivanova’s interests could not agree to this reasoning, and filed a claim for compensation against the External Guards Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for the Republic of Bashkortostan, which is a state institution. Considering that shooting a pistol poses a serious danger to the general public, the owner of this source is to be responsible for any damage, and the owner is the regional external guards directorate.
On 26 September 2013 the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa granted the claim for compensation filed on behalf of Ms Tatiana Ivanova, but only partially. It ordered the defendant to pay 500 thousand rubles compensation. The plaintiff demanded 1 million rubles. On December 3 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan upheld this decision.
After the aforementioned decision had entered into force, human rights defenders filed similar claims on behalf of the two other victims – Albert Mukhamedzakirov’s children. On 6 may 2014 the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa city sustained the claims in full, and awarded 500 thousand rubles in compensation for moral damage to each plaintiff. The defendant regarded this decision unjust and appealed against it.
Yesterday a court hearing at the Judicial bench for civil cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan took place. The court heard all the arguments submitted by the parties, and after some time in the retiring room the judges passed their decision to uphold the decision of the court of the first instance.